What is our primary use case?
I am a platform architect for the RPA so I deal with all 3 major RPA vendors. I build the Infra for all big setups. I have immense experience plan, design, and building the setup on cloud, on-prem and with different configurations.
I implemented AA in different environments, the AA installation is the smoothest compared to other RPA software installs.
Migration is a little challenging since it requires direct integration with DB, credential vault and all that. Since multiple credentials are involved, it is a challenge to get all the credentials, it should be easier if only the control room credential was required. Versioning migration is still a challenge.
How has it helped my organization?
My company uses AA extensively for internal BPO work as well as we refer and deploy it to the customer as a RPaaS model. It helps in increasing productivity, reducing the cost of the whole operation. It makes fewer errors and in the COVID situation proves to be a reliable workhorse.
We implemented a lot of new environments recently. v10 expiry and COVID situation accelerated the implementations. Compared to older days now all implementation of infra bot happened pretty quickly.
Bot with Citrix integration may require a lot of improvement but having any extra feature really helps in complex implementation.
The cloud templates for implementation helped greatly and it helps us in pushing the software fast.
What is most valuable?
- The OCR integration came a long way. They have intelligence inbuilt into it.
- Ease of deploying and the KB article really help people to just read and deploy different 3rd part components as well(svn, DB, LB, etc) .
- Nowadays, the screen scraping techniques evolved in RPA and it is good to see they are in play which was not the case couple of years ago.
- HBC is most suitable for COVID times.
- The RPaas offering will help customer to use it for less number of bots.
- AD security group integration is a good feature
- AI sense is good too.
What needs improvement?
They need to concentrate lot on a nonpersistent RPA model. Integrate IQ bot with AA instead of making it as a separate component, since nowadays intelligent bots need to be integrated into RPA core. Instead of bot agents getting installed on the machines, concentrate on making it independent of the system and only as a plugin in the browser.
It doesn't have an independent small install for developers and always requires to be fully installed.
Bringing a DevOps model for bot implementation integrated through private bot store might be a good idea to improve the tool.
For how long have I used the solution?
I being using it since couple of years, i am impressed by the transformation from v10 to v11 and v11 to A2019.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
The solution is pretty stable, we didn't face many issues. Once the instalation is done the control room core architecture wont face many issues.there are quick fixes like service restart if anything goes off. but most of the time we hear AA support suggesting us to reinstall with the new version of software for performance issues, but with my experiance i hardly see that making huge differnce in fixing the actual issue.
Monitoring can be done through email alerts for the core infrastructure. Issues mainly in HA(High Availability) with cluster sync issues still not monitored at the dashboard level, which might be a concern if the cluster goes out of sync. At the bot implementation lot of things are dependent on the way we code so it's additional work for the developer to get the code keeping in mind all the events which might happen. I would have been impressed if the solution had framework at the control room level to keep track of the overal execution and transactions, hope they can bring that feature in future releases
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
We never faced any issues with scalability for AA. sometime it takes high CPU on CR, but that is expected. one of the frequent questions we encouter with HA setups is the single point failure of repository storages, i understand that this needs to be taken care by storage fault tolerance, however most organization might not use cloud for RPA and if we are doing on prem install they might not have a high resillenace storage. SQL availability group still needs a SQL expert to get that right and DR solution totally depends on the underlaying infra we work on (there may be lot of alternative solution and its a big discussion to be honest :-) )
Hence HA and DR solution really require a expert like us who have extensive knowledge on RPA, cloud, infra, windows and SQL
How are customer service and technical support?
They offer excellent customer service. No complaints except that every time they ask for a software upgrade as soon as they hear about an issue, which is not actually a good solution. Otherwise, they have very good knowledge of most of the issues.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
We keep switching between RPA software for a number of reasons. We prefer AA for the following reasons:
- Low cost for run licenses compare to other RPA solutions
- A high number of certified developers help in bring efficient automation compared to others, they in turn promote the RPA software that they know of.
- Easy to program, no prior experience of programming required.
- Easy to use compared to other RPA.
How was the initial setup?
The initial setup was straightforward, even a complex setup can be set up in 20 mins if you have all prerequisites.setup can be complex if there is a HA , DR implementation, as a architects we need to factor in lot of variables. some are target application access, MFA for the application or windows authentication, credential management, data accessibility, network reachability , underlaying hardware, PaaS offering in cloud(depends on the cloud) , VDI or VM template to choose (Makes huge difference in performance and costing), citrix or native application . Overall simple install, but huge planning to figure out the overall feasibility and effectiveness of implementation
What about the implementation team?
We implemented in-house. I implement it within Accenture and for customers as well. I rate my self pretty high for implementation. I have solid experiance (AA master) as well as cloud certification. I have 12 years experiance in infra, so expect a good solid backgroup on both AA and infra.
What was our ROI?
ROI is important for the business case. ROI is good if you are going for long run, year on year. i never stayed on a project till we start getting the actual values, i see nowadays ROI is shrinking due to RPA vendors raising thier license costs , additional cost added to get the complex RPA solutions to be implemented
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
The setup cost for AA is always fixed since the configuration won't change much for the different number of bots, the license cost is lower in AA,
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
We usually evaluate Blue Prism and UiPath along with AA for implementation. We decide based on the requirements.
Which deployment model are you using for this solution?
If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?